A Portela Mencía 2010
100% Mencía (pronounced Men-THEE-ah).
This wine is startlingly deep garnet black in color.
Upon first whiff are scents of musky earth, followed by hints of graphite. Rich cherry & currant flavors, along with a distinctive presence of balsamic fill the mouth.
Smooth & spicy, with hints of pepper and lively, earthy fruits of cranberry and huckleberry, like a dance flamenco! Herbacious bay leaf and coffee liqueur become apparent in time, adding subtle layers. These notes may not be noticeable all at once. Give this some time! For myself, I would love to be sipping a glass of this at a little table in a Spanish Mesón with tapas and live flamenco players, singers, dancers ... Ola!
For tapas ... charcuterie, mussels w/tomatoes, garlic & herbs, sautéed mushrooms on toasts or semi-hard, nutty, earthy cheese like manchego. For entree's, great with holiday ham or pork loin!
This unique wine is produced from the rare Mencía grape, estate owned and organically grown by the Ladera Sagrada vineyard in the appellation of Valdeorras in Galicia (northwest Spain). Founded in 1920, the vineyard is now owned and managed by winemaker Jose’ L. Sotos. The bodega makes wine using only the best 20% of its grapes (the rest sold to neighboring producers). Vines are grown in granite and slate soil and 100% unoaked. The estate also grows a white varietal called Godello. More on that one in another article, as I love that one too! During Roman times Valdeorras was known for its gold, hence its name, the Valley of Gold. High elevations of this small part of Galicia produce Mencía grapes different from other Galician wine regions. The flavors tend to be bright with great aromatic expression, also due to the cool temperatures of the Atlantic-influenced climate and longer ripening period.
Bottom line – exceptional value! Comes to us through Ole’ Imports and National Distributors here in Maine. In Greater Portland find it at Old Port Wine Merchants on Commercial St. for an amazing $13.99. I had also picked it when writing the wine list for Cantina el Rayo on York St. Last I knew it was there as well. You can always ask your local wine purveyor/retail store if they could order it for you!